A day ago one of the boys rushed to tell me that one of the other boys had broken one of “nice” glasses in his bedroom. I asked him did he know who broke it, and he said that he “knew for sure" that it was the other brother. After our typical ten minute investigation, it became clear that it was not the other brother that had broken the glass, but the rather it was the very one that brought me the news of the broken glass in the first place!
I asked him why he would accuse someone else and why he did not tell me the truth! He retorted that he knew I would be angry that it was broken and he did not want to be the one that I was angry with. As disappointing as my discovery was, it points to what has been true of mankind since creation. We humans have always wanted to shift the blame to someone else! Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent——but no one fessed up and accepted the consequences with contrition or repentance.
It is within the twisted DNA of mankind to always try to blame someone or something else for our poor choices, selfishness or weakness. It’s become culturally acceptable to blame our parents, our genetic make-up, our chemical imbalance or a lack of proper recognition for our “right” to be different that causes us to “miss the mark” or commit an act that is morally unacceptable.
But the root of the issue between the ideal man that I want to be and the actual man that I am is sin. And although I might have 1001 excuses, the sins I commit do damage to my association with others, my own self-image and my relationship with God. Making excuses, blaming others, whining about how I am misunderstood and my plight of not being properly pitied does nothing to deal with the root of the problem.
I’ve read many times that real maturity begins when a man or woman can look at the bad things (sins) he/she has done and admit, “Against you (God) only have I sinned”. I did not fully understand this as a youth or young man. How could my offenses against another man be “only” against God? But now I understand that each time I lie, exaggerate, shift the blame, boast, show unkindness, fail to keep a promise, etc, it is God that I am offending because as a redeemed man of God, one born again by the blood of Jesus, my life is supposed to count for something different than the old way I used to live! The reality of the cross of Jesus is most easily proven in the way I live a new and transformed life! And each time I fail to live they way I was intended, although my salvation is not at stake, my reputation for Jesus Christ suffers——and indeed I have sinned “only against God”. I have, in effect, let Him down and called into question to efficacy of the cross!
My life cannot undo the work of Jesus Christ, but it can cause those outside the body to hesitate and have pause, and it can cause within the body to slow down in their desire to follow Him. In the end, it is God Himself that I am wounding.
But once I see my sins as my sins, and the one that I am wounding as God Himself, I can give up excuses and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit whereby I can overcome those things that cause me—-and others—-to stumble.
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